Wine Tasting October 30 ’10
In case you haven’t been in lately, we have replenished our stock of Pleasant Valley cheeses and Theo’s chocolate bars, and have a nice selection of both. Also, Pat and Janice have a new batch of Truffles this weekend (a steal at $1 each!), and will be taking orders for Thanksgiving!
Truffle flavors: Pumpkin Spice and Cointreau Walnut, both dipped in Deep Dark Chocolate…you KNOW how good they are gonna be, don’t you?…!!!
We had some great wines last weekend. Sold most of our little stash of our lead-off white, the Mark Ryan chardonnay which was entirely satisfying. Our old favorite the Santa Digna carmenere was still a crowd-pleaser, and I never tire of telling the story of the grape’s rediscovery in Chile after it was thought extinct for a century or so.
The new Can Blau was showing very well, especially when warmed up a bit under the hot water tap. I often find myself doing that around here, because we’re in that time of year when Room Temperature hovers around 62, and that is just too cold for a nice red wine. So go ahead and warm it up; it makes a huge difference in flavor, aromatics, and mouthfeel. As for the Numanthia Termes, all agreed there was a lot of There there, if you know what I mean…they don’t make “small” wines!
Been out late to a seminar tonight, so this will be short. Hope to see you all this weekend. Costumes welcome!
SA Prum Essence Riesling 06 Germany $10
Pale gold color, aromatic with scents of apricot and peach and flavors of fresh fruit perfectly balanced by a racy acidity and mineral character.
Leese-Fitch Cabernet 09 California $10
Deep ruby in color, the nose has notes of black cherry, root beer syrup, and cedar. The 2009 vintage of Leese-Fitch Cabernet has flavors of rich berry cobbler, cappuccino, chocolate covered mints, currants & fig cake. It finishes with toasted marshmallows and dried blueberries.
Cougar Crest Dedication 4 07 Washington $19
44% Syrah, 32% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Luch, ripe plums, red currants, black cherries, and a hint of dried roses and herbs on the nose are balanced by acidity and tannins that are smooth and graceful, not overbearing. Rich on the palate and long on the finish,
Goose Ridge Vireo 06 Washington $20 WS93pts
Firm, rich and distinctive for the black olive and roasted meat overtones that swirl around the red berry and cherry flavors, persisting impressively on the long, expressive finish. Stylish and focused, this has miles to go. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot
Wine Tasting October 23 ’10
I was told by a reliable source last weekend that I shouldn’t talk about politics on the wine blog. Probably good advice, but sometimes we all need a good rant, which I managed to resist for the most part, but man, it’s tough to hold back as we suffer through what has to be the most dim-witted political dialogue in living memory. Or, what is the same thing, all political rhetoric is now coming across distorted by the “Dopeler effect” by which political ads sound even more moronic the faster they come at you…
In the upcoming (up-chucking?) election, there are actually two initiatives that directly affect the wine business, although the most direct effect is on sales of hard liquor. One of them attempts to do away with State Liquor stores in order to benefit Big Box stores like Costco. Such stores have so much leverage that they would be able to buy from suppliers at much lower prices than, say, a small wine shop on a little island, and would likely put a lot of small retailers and even distributors out of business.
The other version is sponsored by the Big Beverage industry, who say okay, sure, let’s do away with State Liquor stores, but let’s do it in a way that benefits existing big beverage distributors.
As it is now, Washington, like many states, has a “three-tiered” system, which since prohibition ended, has divided the profits in wine and beer sales among producers, distributors, and retailers, and of course the State gets its share of taxes, so call it “four-tier.” Everybody gets a share, with little retailers like us having the worst odds.
In theory, we would all be better off without the extensive regulation that exists in this industry to protect the profits of the big players and the tax revenue of the state. But in today’s world, it is reasonable to expect that deregulation would lead to even more intense concentration of the industry. Presently no entity can be both a retailer and a wholesaler, which somewhat evens the playing field for retailers. But without those rules, an outfit like Costco might become both a distributor and a retailer, crowding out much of the competition.
All I’m saying is that the prudent thing to do is to vote against these two Initiatives; they would hurt state tax revenues at a time when they are most critical, and give those benefits to big players in the private sector who already have more than their fair share.
And in case you haven’t been in lately, we have replenished our stock of Pleasant Valley cheeses and Theo’s chocolate bars, and have a nice selection of both. Also, Pat and Janice will be making a new batch of Truffles for the Halloween weekend tasting, and taking orders for Thanksgiving!
last week photos
week before last photos
Wine Tasting October 23
Mark Ryan Chardonnay 07 Washington $25 WA91 pts
Light gold-colored, it reveals aromas of toast, mineral, poached pear, and apple. Smooth-textured, balanced, and vibrant in a Chassagne-Montrachet style, the flavors are rich and all components are well-integrated. Drink this outstanding Chardonnay over the next 4 years.
Santa Digna Carmenere 07 Chile $10
Chalky notes of toasty plums, blueberry, raisin give way to finish of dark prunes and spicy white pepper…a great value!
Can Blau 08 Spain $14 WA89pts
Dark ruby-colored, it reveals a compelling bouquet of mineral, smoke, spice box, black cherry, and plum. Sweet and smooth-textured on the palate, this medium to full-bodied effort has excellent depth, concentration, and length.
Numanthia Termes ’03 Spain $22 WA90pts
A super bargain, the 2003 Termes enjoys malolactic fermentation in barrel and is aged 16 months in old French oak. Its dense ruby/purple hue is accompanied by sweet aromas of black fruits, charcoal, licorice, and pepper. Spicy, rich, medium to full-bodied, and exuberantly fruity.
Wine Tasting October 16 ’10
The other evening saw something glowing across the street; turned out to be a spider web reflecting the sunset…see it??
Let’s begin with last weekend’s tasting. Despite the fact that gruner veltliner is not well-known to many wine drinkers, it always shows well and surprises people; the Kurt Angerer is a particularly good one, and didn’t disappoint.
The Sorenson malbec, which I rather like, does have a definite element of “funk” that is hard to categorize…notes of black currant and juniper berries in a handful of forest floor or something. Doesn’t seem to appeal to New World tastes; more popular with the Old Worlders who like a bit of earthiness. This wine has a solid core of Something, I just don’t know what to call it…!
Similarly, the Emmanuel Darnaud was not your mother’s syrah, either. The first bottle delivered a bit of over- concentrated funk toward the end of the bottle, but mostly the wine strikes a lower note than the typical syrah, with a long, lingering finish of black currant, camphor, and licorice. Definitely Old World delicious!
On other fronts, I mailed some thoughts about our ferry situation to our illustrious County Council, mainly to the effect that it really doesn’t work, in oh so many ways, to keep finding new costs they can call “ferry operating costs” and raise fares yet again. At last count, fares had risen six times the increase in the consumer price index, and that’s being generous because most of the increases have been since 2005.
I am pretty sure that we are all willing to pay our fair share, but we do NOT want to be the Whipping Boy of the Week every time the County budget doesn’t balance. I don’t see a lot of other communities in our county paying tolls for their roads or bridges, or being singled out to pay for an “administrator” that we got along without for some 80 years. So there’s a lot to talk about.
And then there’s the upcoming election, and all any media talk about are the Tea Party, and maybe in some Weird Way the Tea Party and Progressives have something in common in that neither of us trusts our elected officials to do what is best for the country. It’s just that they think Big Government is the Bogeyman, while Progressives think that Corporate Power (You Too Will Be Assimilated)! is the Main Culprit. Then again, to paraphrase an old Zen saying, “Government and Corporations are in such an embrace, not even an Ant can crawl between them.” So maybe it would be a step up if Congress were to go from being idiotic to being simply moronic, but then again it’s hard to say, and anyway it’s a depressing prospect, so let’s just stop there for now.
This week’s tasting:
Gordon Bros sauvignon blanc Washington $8
Aromas of citrus, melon and mango; flavors of lime, pink grapefruit and melon; a clean, crisp, versatile partner with fish or fowl. An incredible value!
Telmo Rodriguez Deheso Gago 07 Spain WA89pts $13
Deep crimson-colored, it offers up an excellent bouquet of pencil lead, violets, incense, and blackberry. Ripe, medium to full-bodied and nicely concentrated.
Goose Ridge G3 red 08 Washington $12
A full bodied wine with notes of vanilla and toasty oak in the bouquet. Flavors of cherry and dark fruit combine with tobacco to create a long finish. Our 08 g3 is a blend of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 24% Syrah. (Leigh’s favorite!)
Donedai Cabernet Sauvignon ‘05 Washington $27
Rich and opulent, the Cabernet Sauvignon possesses great strength, complexity and integration. Round, black-fruit flavors of blackberry and black cherry are nicely balanced with smooth tannins and a long, supple finish. Truly a hedonistic wine for the senses! Enjoyable now, this wine will continue to age gracefully for 10-15 years.
Wine Tasting October 9 ’10
It is interesting how some dates just stick in your mind, and then you write it out, not thinking at all about its store of meanings until there it is in front of you, and reading it, the connections get made. All you need to know is that Pat and I were once married to other people (Don and Karen) who just happen to have the same birthday, October 8– I mean, how likely is that? And no, I am not making this up. So each year we like to take this opportunity to wish them both a very Happy Birthday! Confetti! Noisemakers! Huzzah! Hoist yer glasses, mates!
Last week was one of our most interesting wine tastings, in that every wine (well, three out of four) was BOTH someone’s favorite and someone else’s least favorite. And as if that isn’t strange enough, the fourth wine ( Waterbrook Reserve Merlot ’07), that everyone liked, some more than others, received diametrically opposing reviews from Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate, the two Bibles of Imbibilation, if I may coin a word. WA gave it 86 points (about a “C”…let’s just say we won’t carry wine that bad, though it is 90% of your supermarket shelves), saying “adequate depth and ample savory fruit” (damn by faint praise!) better drink it soon (if you can’t afford to, you know, pour it down the sink). On the other hand, WS gave it 92 points (an A+), saying “Ripe, pure, focused and beguiling.”
Always the diplomat, our friend John (Judy’s steadying anchor on Reality) thought we should split the difference, which probably came pretty close. My own take, upon reflection (yes, I am drinking wine while I write this) is that when there is that much disparity, the lower rating was either a bad bottle (it happens) or some kind of wine Politics (where there’s $$, there’s politics). On a good day, at the right temperature, with enough decanting, I could imagine this wine delivering a 92-point performance. As it was, it was entirely satisfying, so in this case I think we mark one in favor of WS.
We forgot the camera last week, but Anne had hers and took this of charming couple (Bryan and ) celebrating their third anniversary with a weekend at the Willows and an afternoon with us. We wish them many more!
This Week’s wines:
Kurt Angerer Gruner Veltliner Spies 07 (Austria) $20: WA 91 pts (believe it!)
Sauvignon-like notes of lime, caraway, and honeydew melon on the nose lead to a juicy, glossy, satisfying palate of cooling melon fruit, with lingering finish of rich nut oils, caraway, white pepper, and
Townshend Red Table (Washington) $12
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah blend; aromas of black cherry, blackberry, strawberry, cedar and a hint of orange zest fill your glass and then your mouth with lingering pepper & tobacco . A definite winner!
Sorenson Malbec ‘07 Washington $18
Discovered this little winery in Port Townsend recently, and this was my favorite wine. Complex aromas of bright black cherry, juniper, and smoke lead to a satisfying palate with intriguing layers of fruit, berry, and spice flavors.
Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes Hermitage ‘06 France $23 WA & WS 90 pts
WA: “Boasts a deep ruby/purple hue as well as notes of licorice, camphor, spring flowers, and black currants, supple tannins, medium to full body, a lovely texture, beautiful concentration, and outstanding purity and length.” WS: “A lacy, mineral-driven style, with iron and hot stone notes fronting for dark cherry and plum fruit. Long, slightly taut finish.”